The Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance on Friday swept the West Bengal Assembly polls with more than a two-thirds majority, ending 34 years of Left Front rule.
Even as results were pouring in, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee tendered his resignation to Governor M. K. Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan in the afternoon.
Accepting his resignation and, inter alia, all the other members of his Council of Ministers, the Governor requested the Chief Minister and his colleagues to continue to discharge their duties till alternative arrangements are made.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee called on the Governor in the evening and staked her claim to form the next government.
All set to be the State's first woman Chief Minister, Ms. Banerjee described the landslide for the alliance as a “victory for democracy, a victory for the people, a victory for maa, mati, manush [her party slogan that translated reads: mother, soil, people]” She promised “good governance, good administration, not autocracy…The people are the winners…”
Among those who fell before the Trinamool-Congress juggernaut were Mr. Bhattacharjee and 25 Ministers, including Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, Industries and Power Minister Nirupam Sen, Housing Minister Gautam Deb and Minister for Sundarban Affairs Kanti Ganguly. In all, 34 Ministers, including the Chief Minister, were in the fray.
The Trinamool secured a majority on its own, bagging 184 of the total 294 seats. A decision on whether or not the Congress, which won 42 seats, will join the new government will be taken soon. Ms. Banerjee has, however, welcomed it and another ally, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) to join her in the next government. The SUCI has won one seat.
Pointing out that Ms. Banerjee had achieved what the Congress could not in the past years, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that “the mandate was clearly in favour” of her. “In Bengal, a frail woman, within 13 years [since the Trinamool Congress was formed], could dismantle a strong CPI(M) party by reducing them not to a three-digit but a double-digit figure,” he said, adding that his party had, in its own, “humble way helped her achieve the success.”
The Left Front's tally was reduced to 62, with the Communist Party of India (Marxist), its major constituent having to content itself with 40 seats. The position of other parties in the Left Front are: the CPI (2), AIFB (11), RSP (7), SP (1) and the Democratic Socialist Party (1).
The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha won three seats and Independents two.
“This result was unexpected,” Mr. Bhattacharjee and Biman Bose, chairman of the Left Front Committee, said in a statement adding that “the Left Front promised to play the role of a responsible and constructive Opposition.”